Sr. for Christian Community Jeanne Frolick
Sr. for Christian Community Jeanne Frolick
Sister Jeanne Frolick, 93, a Sister for Christian Community, liturgical music composer, former conductor of the Archdiocesan Choir and Oregon Catholic Press’ first music editor, died Nov. 11.

She taught and directed choirs in Oregon and Washington for nearly 50 years. Sister Jeanne is the author of “Rise Up and Read Music: Techniques of Sight-Singing.”

Msgr. Edmond Bliven, editor of liturgical publications at Oregon Catholic Press in the early 1970s, hired her as music editor, choosing music for Today’s Missal. She was known for selecting traditional hymns that were solid and transformative, as well as contemporary music that was well-crafted, theologically sound, accessible to the assembly and in service of the liturgy.

Owen Alstott, composer and publisher emeritus at OCP, said Sister Jeanne introduced those values to the company, values “that remain at the core of OCP’s music program to this very day.”

She was the go-to person for organizing and leading the music for big archdiocesan celebrations. “For anyone familiar with Leonard Bernstein’s conducting style, that was Sister Jeanne,” said Alstott. “She enthused and danced and swayed with every fiber of her being, bringing the music to life and bringing out the best in every person in the choir. And all the time with a smile big enough to light up a city. She was choral music.”

Alstott said that off the podium, Sister Jeanne was kind, endearing and entertaining. “She possessed a real joy for life, along with a real commitment to serving others,” he said. “All of us who knew her, worked with her, were taught by her, were inspired by her.”

Sister Jeanne wrote the text of “Humbly, Lord, We Worship You” (“Adoro Te Devote”) and, together with Alstott, “Blessed By Your Sacrifice.” Both songs are popular mainstays of OCP’s missal program.

Sister Jeanne composed a hymn, “Teach Me Your Ways O God,” specifically for Archbishop Vlazny’s installation.

Sister Jeanne was born Nov. 1, 1927, in Portland, the youngest of three daughters born to Fred and Clara Frolick, who immigrated to Portland from Germany. All three sisters, Margaret, Patricia and Jeanne, would become Holy Names Sisters and then, in the mid-1970s, Sisters for Christian Community.

The three sisters grew up in The Madelene Parish in Northeast Portland.

As a student at Madeleine High School, Jeanne earned awards for scholastic and musical achievement. She performed for the USO as a teen during World War II.

She graduated in 1945, and, at age 17, joined the Sisters of the Holy Names and attended Marylhurst College. She would teach at Sacred Heart Academy in Salem from 1957 to 1970, when she left to teach at Marylhurst.

“She had a terrific, quick sense of humor,” said Holy Names Sister Rita Carey, who was a student of Sister Jeanne both at Sacred Heart and at Marylhurst.

A number of women religious say that the Frolick sisters inspired their own vocations.

In 1984, a Catholic Sentinel article, datelined Oregon City, began, “These are good days to be in the choir at St. John the Apostle Parish here.”

The writer noted that Sr. Jeanne had been working with the family choir for five years — a choir in which all were welcome. “There’s no such thing as a terrible voice,” Sister Jeanne told parishioners.

Parents and children sang together in that choir.

“There are so many meetings in the church that separate families,” Sister Jeanne told the Sentinel. She wanted to create an activity where families could serve together.

Sister Jeanne studied at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. When she returned to Oregon she became the fine arts chair at Warner Pacific College.

The Archdiocesan Choir was actually 120 voices strong when the group sang at Archbishop Edward Howard’s funeral in 1983.

One St. John parishioner, Kathryn Strobeck, told the Sentinel that Sister Jeanne would become so enthusiastic about the music that “sometimes you think she’s going to take off, maybe — you know, like the flying nun.”